Articles Ideas, etc. Lesson Plans Intercom Insights Hot Stuff Links About Us Money Skills

Personal Money Management

Book Summaries

A Simple Plan

Catch a Vision


Grow in Wisdom

Live Beneath Your Means


Help Others


Money Quotes, Jokes Activities and Stories

Money Links

Money Statistics

"Work Hard!" 

Is the Leisure Life Overrated?
The Value of Work

Many dream of striking it rich so they can exchange work for a life of leisure. Funny thing is, most of the young and suddenly rich seem to end up going back to work. What for?

It's not for the money. Some have already made more than they could ever spend. Just look at two of the world's richest men. Bill Gates' company, Microsoft, made it's first million when he w as 22. At 31, he was a billionaire. Yet, he kept working as hard as ever. (1) Warren Buffett had his first million at age 31 and quickly multiplied it to billions. Yet today, in his late 70's, he keeps right on working. (2)

For some it's the thrill of competition. Others simply love their work. Still others throw themselves into finding worthy causes to support. 

Max Levchin co-founded Pay-Pal and sold it to E-bay in his late 20's to net himself a tidy $100 million. "So, all that work paid off," you say. "He worked his tail off but then got to sit back and enjoy life, spending his millions." But on his personal Website, he cites his years building PayPal as "arguably the best and happiest times of my life." (3)

So maybe work's not so bad and the leisure life's overrated. That's precisely what Levchin learned during his year out of work after leaving PayPal. "I enjoy sitting on nice beaches and hanging out with my girlfriend and playing with my dog," says Levchin, "but that's three hours a day. What about the remaining 18 hours I'm awake?" He felt "worthless and stupid," calling it the worst year of his life. (4)

He'd hang out with Mr. Hong, another entrepreneurial super-success story, and talk about how miserable they were. "We were both pretty pathetic," Levchin said.

Hong threw himself back into work. So did Levchin, who now relishes putting in long hours to start new companies.


1) Why do you think Levchin couldn't enjoy the leisure life?
2) How does this article challenge our thoughts about work and leisure?
3) Do you think Levchin's experience with the leisure life is more the exception or the rule? Why?
4) What does this tell us about the relationship between work and happiness?


1) Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, Gates (Touchstone: New York, 1993), p. 128. Janet Lowe, Bill Gates Speaks (John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1998) p. xii.
2) Roger Lowenstein, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (Mainstreet Books: New York, 1995) p. 73. See also Wikipedia on Warren Buffett.
4) Gary Rivlin, After Succeeding, Young Tycoons Try, Try Again, The New York Times, October 28, 2007.

Copyright October 30, 2007 by Steve Miller. All rights reserved.



Money HomeBook Summaries | A Simple Plan 
Catch a Vision | Work Hard | Grow in Wisdom | Live Beneath Your Means | Invest Wisely | Help Others
Money Lesson Plans | Money Quotes, Jokes, Activities and Stories | Money Links | Money Statistics